My ex is remarried. According to our sons, it’s to someone of whom they approve — which is a big thing, considering the ones that came before her.
It was a rocky road with many detours for my ex in the years before his remarriage. I got information on some of the relationships from my sons, and it made me reflect on what lessons women, in general, could learn from observing the way divorced men play the dating game.
5 Things YOU Can Learn From My Ex’s Dating Disasters!
1. The first thing my ex did was to try to establish himself as a player as quickly as possible, within a month of moving out of our home. This was before our divorce and even before a legal separation had been drawn up. He was on every dating website he could find, and my son was shocked to run into him partying at a nightclub frequented by 20-somethings (my ex was in his 50s).
What was he looking for? Sex, no strings attached. He believed he’d suffered from a severe and prolonged drought in the bedroom, and he was out there trying to make up for lost time. The lesson from this for women who are also re-entering the dating world? Beware of the divorce rebounders. They want a quick and easy sexual pass, no strings attached. If they are still angry because of their divorce, be warned that you, too, could be a target on which to deflect their anger. You are an object, nothing more.
2. He met one woman and soon invited her to travel with him on a month-long holiday in another country. She accepted, and perhaps she saw it more as friends with benefits and was okay with it, he wanted more though. It didn’t last. After the holiday together, she disappeared off the radar. What I learned from this: Beware of anyone that is moving too quickly. This includes pushing for long vacations together or sharing accommodation, or enmeshed dating, which translates into being together every available evening and all weekend. If you don’t have breathing space, you also don’t have thinking space. The question to ask yourself is, “What’s their hurry?” A new relationship should develop at a pace that is comfortable for you — nothing more, nothing less.
3. Next in line was the woman with young children. She was in her 40s, her daughter was 12. My ex had been an uninvolved father to his own sons, so I knew instantly that this was not going to end well. He invited this woman on a holiday to the city where he had lived and where I still lived. She brought her daughter along, perhaps believing this would be a wonderful chance for them to all bond.
Instead, it turned into a horror holiday for her. Within two days of arriving, he had lost interest. He arranged for my son to meet them for lunch, then suddenly announced he had to go meet some old friends and asked our son to show her around town for the rest of the day.
My son said he wasn’t available and later told me that he felt sorry for the woman. She apparently spent the rest of her holiday making her own way around while he was off with so-called old friends. Lesson learned: If you have younger children that still need a lot of your time and energy, make sure you are dating someone who understands and is supportive. My ex had raised his children and had no interest in playing stepfather.
4. Soon after, he moved back to our city permanently, and within months, he had not only met and started dating a woman 10 years younger than him but had bought a house for the two of them. This woman was disliked by both my sons. Upon meeting them, the first thing she did was lecture them about how she wanted their father to change his Will and leave nothing to them so that he could spend it on himself (and presumably her).
There’s a big and important lesson here, and it’s a topic that a lot of people dating avoid: money and finances. Who has more? Who wants to dip into the other’s bank account?
The relationship lasted two years before she moved out and got her own place, perhaps after discovering my ex hated spending money on anyone other than himself. Lesson to be learned: Before things get serious in a new relationship, find out the financial situation of the person you are dating. And don’t project the generosity they show in the first dates onto them as a trait; they might be long-term cheapskates once they get you on the hook. Alternatively, they might not be as financially secure as you are, and your bank account might be high on their list of what attracted them to you. A little cynicism goes a long way towards preserving your financial security.
5. And then there was the one he finally married. After the acrimonious break-up with Number 4, he was back on the dating websites. This time, he was on the hunt for a wife, and he knew what he wanted: a woman at least 10 years younger, financially secure with a good job, and most importantly, someone who would fall for his razzle-dazzle and self-promotion.
Apparently, he found her. Within two months, she invited him to move into her house, where he lived for free, not working while she went off to her well-paid job. Within six months, he proposed and persuaded her to move to a gated community down the coast. She sold her home and her investment properties, and together they bought a huge five-bedroom house on the water. It was the status home he had always wanted and in the area where he had always wanted to live.
After a bout of illness and finding commuting too hard, his new wife resigned from her job. Apparently, now she drifts around the house, totally bored and wondering how she ended up so isolated. The lesson here is about both moving too fast and allowing yourself to be manipulated. If you feel like you are going along with what the other person wants, you probably are pushing your own needs and wants aside to make way for theirs. Does the relationship allow for you to pursue your own dreams and live a life outside of the marriage? Telling yourself that you are doing it for love or to keep the peace is an excuse that no one but you believes.